It's been a while since we've added a new feature that we failed to follow up on. So with the changing of the guard at 1600 Pennsylvanie Ave., the new year, and, of course, the Indians signing Carl Pavano (previously referred to as "The Worst Free Agent In History"), it's time to tie up some loose ends; there are things we need to have one final word on and then never speak of again. Consider this segment like the last two minutes of Rome is Burning except without the pretentious goatee and the words "jack," "green," and "dumbfounded." Today, we tackle: Romeo Crennel.
You're not going to find this opinion anywhere else on the internet: the Browns shouldn't have fired Romeo Crennel.
Every fan website, blog, and sports editorial said the same thing: nice guy, bad coach, right move. In fact, we think what you're about to read will be the only defense of his administration as head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
We'll give you the once-in-a-while (by which, we mean "every other week") bonehead timeout or clock management blunder. Most notably the second regular season Steelers game last year where Romeo called a timeout to decide if he wanted to challenge a play, then challenged it, then lost the challenge, thereby costing the Browns another timeout. None for the price of two! Worse, this came in a game in which an extra two timeouts might have allowed them to move into field goal position to win the game (as it was, Phil Dawson missed a long one).
But, we digress.
Those happen. And yes, they happened too much under the Crennel/Savage regime (more on Phil in a minute).
But the truth is: they won 10 games that year. Partially the benefit of an easy schedule and partially because they were lucky, but they won 10 games. This year, they were sacked with tons of injuries and errant QB play. They were down to their third string QB. There's no way any coach would have broken 8-8 with Ken Dorsey at QB.
If you wanted to fire someone, fire Braylon Edwards who singlehandedly (which is, apparently the only kind of catch he can make) caused 378 drives to stall out this year. If he could make a catch, they probably beat the Broncos.
If Derek Anderson doesn't fumble it into the arms of the Colts, they probably beat the Colts. If Derek Anderson doesn't throw 12 interceptions against the Redskins, they beat them. If they get anything from the QB position all year, they probably win an extra 3-4 games. I'm going to throw some numbers at you:
These are the passing yardage for the starting QB of the Browns' 16 games this year. That's right, 18 fucking passing yards from Bruce Gradkowski in the 16th game.
Maybe it's partially, maybe even largely, Crennel's fault that the offense deteriorated to the point that 1 reception for 12 yards makes you the day's leading reciever, that's beyond coaching. You take Vince Lombardi and put him in charge of a team that under Crennel got 64 passing yards against the Bengals and you know what you have? A pretty shitty team.
As for fired GM Phil Savage, that seemed like a total overreaction. This team is more talented than when he and Crennel found it. Maybe the medical staff should be fired for apparently drowning the entire training facility in the Ebola virus, but that's neither here nor there.
Perhaps the firing would have been better if it seemed like the Browns ownership had some sort of plan. Right now, they've hired Eric Mangini to be the head coach. They've also got the coordinators in place. All of this is well and good, but they're doing this totally bass-ackwards: they have yet to hire a general manager. So whatever incoming GM the Browns hope to snag, better like Eric Mangini and the staff he's put in place, because he will have no say in it.
Think about this: remember the first three years you worked? Remember how bad you were at your job? We can remember our first three years of teaching: we sucked. We totally sucked. The fact that in only his third year of being a head coach anywhere, Crennel nabbed 10 wins, should be a positive indicator of his coaching ability.
We're not saying Crennel is a great coach. He may not even be a good one. But I suppose we'll never know (until he gets another head coaching job and then goes on to win multiple Super Bowls).